The next time you find yourself stressed out, try shoving a whole bunch of dark chocolate into your mouth. It’s not just the most magically delicious form of self-care, but it’s scientifically proven to lower stress levels.
Not one, but two new studies out of Loma Linda University presented at the Experimental Biology 2018 conference show what stress eaters may already know: Scarfing down dark chocolate that has a high concentration of cacao (minimally 70% cacao, 30% organic cane sugar) has positive effects on stress levels, inflammation, mood, memory, and immunity. The higher the concentration of cacao, the greater the benefit. The flavonoids found in cacao are extremely potent antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents.
Need more convincing? Try it in science speak: One study found that cacao consumption “up-regulates multiple intracellular signaling pathways involved in T-cell activation, cellular immune response and genes involved in neural signaling and sensory perception – the latter potentially associated with the phenomena of brain hyperplasticity.” The other showed that foods with “70 percent cacao [enhance] neuroplasticity for behavioral and brain health benefits.”
You can wait for more research if you want, but we’ll just be over here stress-eating dark chocolate for medicinal purposes.